44th Chess Olympiad, Chennai

The 44th Chess Olympiad is underway and India is hosting the Chess Olympiad for the first time in Chennai. More than 2,500 players from around 190 countries are participating in the event. It is also the first time that a Chess Olympiad Torch has been instituted.

The opening ceremony was held on 28 July at 16:00 IST (UTC+5:30) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in front of more than 20,000 players, coaches and local chess enthusiasts.

The opening address was made by Tamil Nadu Minister for Youth Welfare and Sport Development Meyyanathan Siva V. A musical show narrating the history of India’s state of Tamil Nadu throughout the ages followed, with many dancers and artists, led by director Vignesh Shivan, and narration by the veteran actor Kamal Haasan.

The most memorable highlight of the ceremony was perhaps the moment when five-time World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand handed over the Olympic torch to prime minister Narendra Modi, who passed it to Indian rising chess stars R Praggnanandhaa and Gukesh D to light up the Olympic flame.

The event is being contested by a total of 188 teams, representing 186 national federations, which set a new record. India, as host country, fields three teams.

As far as the broadcasting is concerned in India, the Chess Olympiad is telecast on the Doordarshan TV channel.